Actias luna (Insecta)
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The structure of a simple chordotonal organ, the presumed homologue of the noctuoid moth tympanal organ, is described in the atympanate moth, Actias luna. The organ consists of a proximal scolopidial region and a distal strand, which attaches peripherally to the membranous cuticle ventral to the hindwing alula. The strand is composed of elongate, microtubule-rich cells encased in an extracellular connective tissue sheath. The scolopidial region houses three mononematic, monodynal scolopidia, each comprised of a sensory cell, scolopale cell, and attachment cell. The dendritic apex is octagonally shaped in transverse section, its inner membrane lined by a laminated structure reminiscent of the noctuoid tympanal organ ‘collar’. A 9+0-type cilium emerges from the dendritic apex, passes through both the scolopale lumen and cap, and terminates in an extracellular space distal to the latter. Proximal extensions of the attachment cell and distal prolongations of the scolopale cell surrounding the cap are joined by an elaborate desmosome, with which is associated an extensive electron-dense fibrillar plaque. Within the scolopale cell, this plaque constitutes the scolopale ‘rod’ material. The data are discussed in terms of both the organ's potential function, and its significance as the evolutionary proto-type of the noctuoid moth ear.
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